ALTHOUGH there’s not much to be said about the bell of the trombone, it’s still an important part of the instrument. This is where the sound comes out, and a good bell can change the sound an instrument makes. Like the mouthpiece a bell has to be chosen carefully bearing in mind where, and for what kind of music, the instrument will be used. In some music, for instance, the trombone needs to ‘raise the roof’ with some raucous sounds.
The trombone is seldom used as a solo instrument in Western classical music, but in jazz there have been some prominent solo trombone-players who have needed to make a sound that matches, and sometimes overwhelms, the other players.
Simon Gunton talks about how he decides what size of bell he is looking for, and demonstrates how the mute is placed into the bell to make the instrument sound quieter.